Butterfly Hot Springs and Groundhog Hot Springs

• Little Dipper Hot Springs is 1 of the 5 soaking pools near Boiling Springs
• It is the most unremarkable soaking pool out of all 5, so it is best to skip it

Little Dipper Hot Springs sits on the Middle Fork Payette River in the Boise National Forest.

This is 1 of the 3 sets of soaking pools within a hiking distance from Boiling Springs.

To get to this spot, you must take a moderate 3.5-mile (5.6 km) out-and-back hike with a 300 ft elevation gain.

Little Dipper Hot Springs is the first soaking pool on the trail, with the other two sets being Moondipper/Pine Burl Hot Springs and Butterfly/Groundhog Hot Springs.

The best times to visit this place are from May to October. The trail is more passable, and the river levels are low enough not to flood the pools.

Little Dipper is the most unremarkable hot spring out of all 5 on the trail. It is literally just a hole in the ground with rocks and a tarp. There is no drainage, so expect algae there. Also, it might be hard to find because it sits in a forested area.

Moondipper sits about 0.6 miles away and is a much better soaking spot than the Little Dipper.

Evie Litton and Sally Jackson described this soaking location in Hiking Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest. Pick up your copy to have a handy guide on finding hot springs (much better ones than Little Dipper).

Beyond Hot Springs: Other Adventures

Rockhounding is very productive on the Middle Fork Payette River, especially for quartz and agates. You can also try your luck at Dash Creek and other nearby spots.

Middle Fork of the Payette River is a fantastic fishing spot, particularly for trout.

You can also enjoy nature viewingwildlife watchingcamping at nearby campgrounds, and hiking at multiple trails of the Boise National Forest.

Camping & Lodging

Boiling Springs Campground sits at the trailhead to the springs, 0.25 miles away from the Boiling Springs.

You can rent the cabin through recreation.gov.

The town of Crouch, 23 miles southwest of the campground, has more hotels and other accommodations.

Affordable short and long-term rentals in Crouch

Lowman sits 48 miles from the hot springs, right off Highway 17, and has even more lodging and vacation rentals.

Affordable short and long-term rentals in Lowman

Sourdough Lodge in Lowman is a cozy, rustic motel where you can book a cabin, enjoy breakfast, stockpile your favorite snacks and tasty beer at the convenience store, and head out to explore hot springs!

Alternatively, you can stay in Idaho City, 50 miles south, and pick one of the hotels and resorts there.

Hotels and Resorts in Idaho City

If you want to visit as many hot springs in this area as possible, book a room at Mountain Village Resort in Stanley. The resort is not only located in the land of hot springs but also has its own private springs.

Mountain Village Lodge Reservation

Little Dipper Hot Springs | Facts

Location: 23 miles southwest • Central Idaho • USA
Open: Year-round, but the road is covered by snow during winter
Development: Undeveloped
Clothing: Optional
Amenities: None

Hiking distance: 1.75 miles
Road access: Any vehicle, except during winter
Day-use fees: No
Managed by: US Forest Service

Elevation: 4,200 ft (1,280 m)

Water T° (source): Varies
Water T° (pools): Varies
Odor None

More Adventures

Directions to Little Dipper Hot Springs

From Crouch,

  • Take S Middlefork Road for 3.2 miles
  • Turn left onto Middlefork Road and follow it for 13.9 miles
  • Turn left onto Forest Road 698/Middlefork Road and follow it for 5.4 miles.

Take a 1.75-mile one-way hike from the trailhead along the Middle Fork Payette River.

The path with steep and slippery sections follows the river's western edge. It is the safer option when the water level is high.

The Middle Fork Trail is more direct, but you must cross the river several times on your way. During the dry season, the river is usually only ankle-deep.

GPS (Trailhead): N 44°21.604' W 115°51.594' | 44.36018, -115.85986

GPS (Little Dipper Hot Springs): N 44°22.752' W 115°50.622' | 44.3792, -115.8437

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